Bruxism is another word for grinding. More specifically it relates to the habit of a person grinding their teeth. But why would someone grind their teeth? This is a good question… Almost all patients that suffer from bruxism do so subconsciously. In fact, the majority of tooth grinding patients suffer from “nocturnal bruxism” which means they grind their teeth during their sleep. Often these patients are referred by a partner or family member who notices that this person is grinding during their sleep as it can be quite loud and aggressive.

Symptoms of bruxism include

  • Sore muscles of mastication (the muscles in your cheeks)
  • Sore jaw joints
  • Headaches
  • Shiny/flattened teeth
  • Decrease in tooth height
  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Tender teeth

The underlying cause of any bruxism is usually multifactorial and related to lifestyle factors. Sometimes simply being made aware of the issue can relieve the symptoms that can occur as a result of it. More often, some sort of intervention is required. 



One possible intervention may include physio or remedial massage on and around the sore joints and muscles. The muscles in bruxism cases have usually become chronically inflamed and can sometimes be settled simply by regular massage. This may be recommended either as self-massage or through a specialist.


Splints and other appliance:

If your bruxism has progressed, or looks likely to progress to the state where there is damage to your tooth structure, then it might be necessary to fabricate an appliance to be worn at night to stop any further damage to your teeth. Excessive tooth wear through grinding can be complex and expensive to repair. While repair is possible, we would prefer to prevent this amount of tooth wear occurring.

There are some simple designs of occlusal splints (also known as night guards) that will protect your teeth from further destruction. Splints have also been shown to have an effect on the positioning of the jaw and muscles while you sleep. Often this will mean the muscles are in a more natural and relaxed position and you are less likely to grind. 

As always, prevention is better than cure! Talk to us if you or a family member are concerned about possible bruxism.


Psychological factors:

Recent studies have looked at the prevalence of mood and anxiety symptoms comparing people with bruxism and those that do not brux. These studies found that the bruxism group had a greater presence of the following:

  • Depression

  • Manic symptoms

  • Stress sensitivity

  • Anxiety

  • Reassurance sensitivity

We can help you manage the dental symptoms of bruxism but if you experience any of the above symptoms or conditions, please seek help with any of these excellent web sites: